The Education of a Chess Player

[Reprinted from Chess in New York State, March 1973]

Saturday. 9:00 A.M.

Well, here I am. I can hardly wait for the first round to start. What a lot of weird-looking people! I suppose everybody thinks I'm a beginner who barely knows how the pieces move.

Won't they be surprised when I win all my games?

Saturday. 10:45 A.M.

How careless of me! I must remember to watch out for my Queen in future games. I should be able to win the rest if I only watch out for my Queen. Before every move I'll ask myself: Will this move lose my Queen? . . .

Saturday. 4:30 P.M.

Wouldn't you know it? Out of fifty players, I had to play one that knows the Giuoco Piano better than I do. But at least I didn't lose material. If I keep on playing my usual game, my luck is bound to change.

Saturday. 10:30 P.M.

I think I know what the trouble is. I'm too nervous. Normally I play well enough to win most of the time, but the strain of playing in a tournament has upset me. I'll do better after a good night's sleep.

Sunday. 11:45 A.M.

Well, that was better. My opponents are getting weaker, at any rate. This one didn't even know how to mate me. He just kept queening pawns for no reason. I ought to get a really easy opponent for the last round.

Sunday. 2:30 P.M.

Who do I play? Why, that's not fair! He already has half a point. I'm going to complain to the tournament director!

Saturday. 9:30 A.M.

Well, here I am again. Most of these people look familiar. There's the tournament director who yelled at me last time. I suppose the first round will be late again. I suppose nobody recognizes me. If they do, they probably think I'm going to play like last time. They don't know that I've been reading that book about traps in the openings!

Won't they be surprised when I win all my games? . . .

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